Shimla: Ahead of by-election to in the state, BJP-ruled Shimla Municipal Corporation has been alleged of harassing people and benefiting selective individuals in the name of declaring old buildings unsafe. Houses, which are being declared unsafe, are not even being given permission of re-construction on old lines. Such a discriminating attitude of the SMC has created unrest among people. These allegations were labelled by former Deputy Mayor of Shimla, Harish Janartha.
The Ward that houses market of Shimla town, has hundreds of such old houses, most of which are multi-storied. Several of these buildings also share common walls with each other and are inhabited by hundreds of families. Moreover, commercial activities and local businesses are running in these buildings located in the market.
Among such old buildings which are being declared unsafe, several structures are in good condition and only require repair to be declared safe for habitation. It was alleged that building owners or tenants are approaching the SMC with applications seeking permissions for repairs, which are being declined.
Further, it was alleged that SMC has declared buildings as unsafe based on the condition of just one part or outer appearance despite the fact that interiors of these buildings are in good condition. Such attitude of the SMC is not justified, Harish Janartha said.
Also, SMC is asking the owners to re-construct their buildings based on the orders of the National Green Tribunal. However, in reality, the NGT orders regarding the construction apply only for the new buildings and not the old ones, he said.
Hundreds of families have been living in these buildings for decades and they are dependent on them for their livelihood as they are running their businesses here. He said if the affected owners were compelled to re-build their buildings per the NGT orders, then these families would become homeless.
Janartha has demanded that the affected building owners should be given permission to re-build their structure on old lines. Also, owners seeking repair should be granted permission.
Former Deputy Mayor has also demanded that the functioning of the SMC has risked the future of these families, therefore, the state government should intervene and provide relief to the affected people. The SMC should be directed not to harass people and the list of the buildings declared unsafe should be made public, he demanded.